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How to Get Stains Off of Your Cabinets

How to Get Stains Off of Your Cabinets

Most people don’t realize it, but their cabinets can get stained just like anything else. So it’s essential to know how to get stains off of your cabinets and keep them looking new.

Investigate The Stain

The first step is to investigate what kind of stain you have on your cabinets: food, oil, or marker. 

Food Stains:

Food stains should come up relatively easily with cleaning products from the store. 

Oil Stains:

Oil stains might take a bit more elbow grease, depending on how long they’ve been there. 

Marker Stains:

Finally, marker stains are going to be one of the hardest things that you might have to deal with–they’re challenging because while some cleaners will remove marker itself, other types can seep deep into the cabinet and never be entirely removed until you strip the old finish off.

Clear Your Cabinets First

Regardless of what type of stain you’re trying to deal with, clearing out your cabinets is the first step. Once they’ve been thoroughly cleaned, you’ll want to use a cleaner designed for removing stains from cabinets or apply some elbow grease directly with lemon juice or vinegar if it’s not too difficult. 

Possible Home Remedies

Baking Soda & Water Paste: 

Mix baking soda and water, then apply to the stained area. Allow to dry overnight; if there is any remaining stain after the paste has dried, buff off with a clean cloth or sponge.

Dish Soap & Water: 

Apply dish soap directly to the stains using a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse well. Repeat if necessary. Be cautious not to get the soap on any surrounding areas as it may discolor the paint.

Vinegar & Baking Soda Paste: 

Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda, then apply to the stained area using a damp cloth or sponge. Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes before rinsing off with warm water.


Apply toothpaste to the stain, gently rub it in, then wipe clean with a damp rag. This method is best used on wooden cabinets.

Lemon Juice: 

For wooden cabinets, wipe down the stained area with lemon juice and allow it to sit for five minutes. Then, wipe again with a damp rag. Be mindful when attempting this method, as it may cause surrounding areas to discolor.

If these techniques don’t work, there are commercial cleaners available at most hardware stores.

Future Prevention

You can also take future steps to keep your cabinets clean over time so that they won’t get stained as easily in the future. 

Cleaning them regularly, using coasters underneath anything that might be prone to staining (like hot coffee cups), and always wiping up spills immediately will help to cut down on future staining. 

When you do get a stain on your cabinets, you’ll be able to clean it up quickly and easily without too much problem.

Know When It Is Time To Get an Expert:

While most stains can be removed with some good old-fashioned cleaning and elbow grease, there may come a time when the finish has already been ruined by something like a marker or rusting metal. In these cases, you might need to strip down the cabinet itself before re-finishing them. 

Stripping cabinets requires professional help if done correctly because of hazards involved with chemicals containing hazardous materials–in other words, the fumes are dangerous! 

Even if stripping is necessary for removing stained finishes, it should always be done by a professional who knows what they are doing.